Post-traumatic stress can follow a single traumatic event or multiple traumas experienced by one person. However, when signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appear, it’s essential to learn how to manage its symptoms in healthy ways. Let’s take a look at what’s involved some PTSD facts and options for treatment of PTSD to start the healing process.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop from events you remember or ones you don’t. For example, single or sustained events can lead to trauma, and symptoms range from anxiety and depression to nightmares and isolation from others. Untreated PTSD can lead to substance use. Healing from trauma and addressing a substance use disorder can be done at the same time within dual diagnosis treatment programs offered by Hanley Center.
Sources of Trauma
Trauma can come from a variety of types of experiences: single events, sustained events, and events not initially considered traumatic by a person. For example, one-time events could be an accident, an injury, or a violent attack. Sustained traumatic events last for a period of time or get repeated. Years of physical abuse or neglect by a parent is a form of sustained trauma. Being bullied, battling a serious illness, and surviving a natural disaster can also be forms of sustained trauma.
The third type of trauma can come from moments you might not automatically think of as traumatic. It could be the loss of a prized possession, the death of a relative, or the loss of a close friend after a move. A hospitalization or surgical procedure may be overlooked as a source of trauma.
Traumatic experiences can happen to anyone. Job-related trauma is always a potential for military servicemen and servicewomen. First responders can experience trauma in attempting to save the life of another person. Nurses who care for terminal patients and doctors who lose a patient on the operating table may find those losses traumatic.
People who experience trauma on the job may resist the need to address it. They may feel admitting to suffering from trauma will change how colleagues and supervisors see them. They may assume it will diminish their reputation if they can’t handle an “expected” part of the job. Feeling stigmatized for their mental health needs could lead them to cope alone, even turning to alcohol or drugs to endure the symptoms that appear when reminded of the past trauma.
People experiencing trauma symptoms don’t always see them as being tied to a traumatic experience. Instead, they may interpret them as “normal” or as a response to a current event. The following symptoms can appear and become more severe over time by missing the connection to past trauma:
- · Anger
- · Anxiety
- · Changes in sleeping habits
- · Compulsive behaviors
- · Disordered eating
- · Extreme stress
- · Fear
- · Insomnia
- · Irritability
- · Memory loss
- · Nightmares
- · Panic attacks
- · Relationship problems
- · Shock
- · Socialization issues
How you respond to typical stress or reminders of past trauma can be signs of PTSD. You may be on high alert for danger or trouble wherever you go. You may have flashbacks to the traumatic experience or think about it frequently. Your reaction to minor problems may look exaggerated to others. PTSD can inhibit your ability to socialize or handle routine tasks. It’s not uncommon to experience nightmares or insomnia with PTSD. Your moods can change often, and depression or anxiety can appear or intensify.
Treatment of PTSD Alone
People with untreated PTSD risk developing a substance use disorder, but not all trauma survivors turn to drugs or alcohol. Hanley Center provides a Residential Mental Health program in a dedicated separate space if you need mental health support only. This program provides personal, confidential care in a private setting with 24/7 medical and mental health services.
For someone who has PTSD and also a substance use disorder they would benefit from our dual diagnosis treatment programs. We offer residential inpatient co-occurring treatment for substance use disorders and mental health disorders at our Center for Men’s Recovery, Center for Women’s Recovery and Center for Older Adult Recovery programs.
Hanley Center offers numerous evidence-based therapies for a PTSD treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used to reframe traumatic memories, learn relaxation techniques, and role-play past experiences. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) uses eye movement to disrupt patterns of trauma-related memories. Mindfulness introduces patients to becoming intensely aware of what they’re sensing in their bodies and encourages them to not interpret or judge those sensations. Biofeedback teaches patients how to control basic body functions, such as heart rate, as a means of relaxing when reminded of a traumatic memory. These therapies serve to help patients process painful memories in safe and supportive settings. They also introduce new ways to cope with the feelings associated with the traumatic experience or person who caused the trauma.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness.